Welcome to this article which is a continuation of our theory of change series. In this article we are going to explore some of the benefits of using a facilitator during the development of your theory of change.
But first, what is a theory of change?
A theory of change is a map, diagram or written description of how the activities you take part in will create the change you want to see in the world and ultimately deliver on your long term goals. It works through the inputs you need (from funding, human resources and equipment), what main activities you need to do in order to achieve the completed products or services which your charity provides. Crucially, however, it then maps out the journey your beneficiary needs to go on to see that change become a reality in the world.
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So how can a facilitator support this process?
A facilitator is there to support everyone involved to do their best thinking. They typically lead workshops or meetings and their main function is to create an environment where everyone is given the opportunity to idea generate, collaborate and leave with an end result which delivers on what was needed.
In the case of a theory of change, a facilitator should also have the technical knowledge of a theory of change, including what one is, how to develop one and most importantly knows how to ask the right questions so that the theory of change created pulls together all of the important assumptions around how to are going to create change.
What are the benefits of using a facilitator?
A facilitator should be trained in both the theory of a theory of change as well as the practical aspects of how to create and then implement one. They should know the right questions to ask as well as the different angles to approach your theory of change to make sure you create one which is accurate, comprehensive and most crucially one that is useful within your organisation.
A facilitator is skilled in running efficient meetings. They can help keep the team focused on the outcomes they are looking to achieve, manage time and maintain a healthy flow to the meeting. As a result, all participants should leave feeling like their time and efforts have been put to good use as well as leaving with a theory of change which can be used to great effect.
Facilitators can help resolve conflicts and differences in opinion between participants. Working as an independent mediator, they should be able to help clarify people’s opinions and work them towards an effective compromise.
A Theory of Change is a map, diagram or written description of how the activities you take part in will create the change you want to see in the world and ultimately deliver on your long term goals. It is normally delivered through one or more facilitation sessions, where key stakeholders work together to create the Theory of Change. A designated facilitator can be highly beneficial to this process. Not only can they provide technical expertise as to how to develop a theory of change, but also help resolve conflicts, keep the team focused and know how to ask the right questions to get the best results. Our theory of change training course is designed to train an individual within your organisation to become a facilitator to the rest of your team.